Tart with leeks, kale, and cantal cheese

March 17, 2011 § 4 Comments

I don’t know about you, but I still feel rather pocket sized these days.  Powerless.  To be perfectly honest, it’s a feeling I often struggle with anyway.  So, events, disasters, scares, all tend to bring it out full force.  The voices on the news joining with the voices of fear and worry in my mind, amplifying into a din.  A Greek chorus composed of squawking, insane parrots, on speed.  Sometimes the mind is really not a good place to be.  This is another reason why I cook.  It is my meditation.  I’m a horribly unreliable meditator.  Just as bad about yoga and qi gong.  But, cooking is the time when my mind quiets as I concentrate on the weight of the knife handle in my hand or the steam from a pot wafting up to my face as I stir.

It’s why I sometimes prefer to cook things that have a lot of different pieces.  Chopping, rolling, shaping, shaking, layering.  Dishes that are antithetical to the usual weeknight cooking demand to just get something good on the table quickly, and instead are a true-blue labor of love.  I find tarts quite good for this.  I love the feeling of rubbing together the flour and butter between my fingers and the thump of the floury rolling pin on the dough and the endless potential for fillings.  Like this one, for example with its lightly crunchy, golden cornmeal crust and filling of tender caramelized leeks and sturdy greens all bound together with nutty, pungent Alpine cheese. « Read the rest of this entry »

Leeks two ways – caramelized with pasta and leeks vinaigrette

May 6, 2010 § 8 Comments

Being a graduate student, where I work is mostly flexible.  And being that the people Joel works with are frequently out of the country, he too is sometimes able to work for a day or half day away from the office.  So, sometimes we go together and work in a coffee shop for the morning.  It’s a lovely little change of pace.  Of course, then sometimes Joel loads me up with the extra stuff that he doesn’t want to bike with to work.  Something like, say, hypothetically, a messenger bag full of 3 year’s worth of files and papers, and a computer, and a couple of books, and some New Yorker magazines, and some rocks or bowling balls or something that was really darn heavy.  And then, I wind up walking home carrying all of this, plus my own ungodly heavy bag of research stuff and text books and sketchbooks and some extra layers of clothing that I’ve had to shed because I’m all hot from the exertion of walking with so much stuff.  And of course, this would be the moment when I walk by the market and decide that I really need to buy a leek.   (No, not take a leak; buy a leek).

I don’t know if this is at all normal, but I have pretty powerful internal voices, at least when it comes to food (they don’t really help me much in other areas of my life).  So, if something in me says, “ooh, leeks! Buy some!”  I heed it.  Of course, given that I was already carrying half a gazillion pounds of stuff, it would only be reasonable to discover that all the leeks that were available were ginormous.  And heavy.  Each one was over a pound – I’d say normal for leeks is about one third of that.  But, I bought some anyway, and determined that if I did not break my back on the way home, I would have cause to celebrate.  Preferably by cooking some leeks, what else?! « Read the rest of this entry »

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